Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

100 small things Microsoft could do

Posted by shannonclark on February 1, 2005

Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger has posted a request for 100 small things which could be done – perhaps by bloggers, perhaps by a single developer, perhaps by Microsoft.

I posted a very long comment (included below) to his request.

A few that come to mind – some small, some not so small.
1. Make a list of ALL of the current products from Microsoft. Now, quick – can you (or an average consumer) easily understand the difference between many of the versions? If not – see my next suggestion.

2. CHANGE how Microsoft brands the names of products. Stop this ongoing number plus long text similar yet not branding (i.e. Windows XP Home Edition vs. Windows XP Professional with “server” and perhaps “enterprise” in there somewhere). Ideally simplify and clarify when versions really and truly are different.

3. Give very serious consideration to stripping some (all) of the variation off of some of the brands – i.e. is there really a functional, business useful reason to have Windows XP tablet edition, home edition, and professional edition? Could it all be the SAME OS – but perhaps have different configurations/modes available for installation?

4. Give developers a reason to invest and develop for the Microsoft platform. At the moment, it likely takes a many thousand dollar MSDN subscription, plus an investment into the systems etc to start developing for the MSFT platform – at after that clearly understanding how a client will have to license the various components required to install and use any application you write is far from clear (i.e. when are access lisenses for the webserver required? how many licenses for SQL server are required – is it per “user” where a human is a user? or per “user” where a user is the web server(s) connecting? What if the web servers are duplicated for scaling purposes – but are all running the same code – do they require each a separate and additional access license?

5. Inside of Hotmail allow LINKS to be followed directly – not opening up in a MSN wrapped window. (this behavior is a large reason why I have never used hotmail very actively, too annoying to keep getting into framed windows when I followed a link as I very often want to follow a link, then cut/past/bookmark the link to do something with it)

6. Provide REAL WORLD examples of great practice in the use of Microsoft technology. Not cases that are “pure” microsoft environments, but cases that show how to really and powerfully use single pieces of MSFT tech. For example – well implemented templates in Office. Actually useable cases of Macros etc.

7. Consider, very very strongly taking a “Firefox” approach to every single Microsoft product – from IE to Outlook to office.

What is a “firefox” approach? Looking at STRIPPING AWAY features to get to the very core features for that application.

In many applications – such as Office and Outlook this could and should result in VAST improvements in security, reliability and thus as well value. If the features that are pulled away can be added back as modules – as needed – even better.

8. Inside of Outlook, and XP in general, figure out solutions to the 2 gb file size issues. At a minimum release a patch to Outlook that provides notification when you are approaching the 2 gb limit. Make more tools within Outlook work ACROSS files in a better fashion. (simple example – can it be possible to build a search folder in Outlook 2003 which searches MULTIPLE outlook .pst files? At the moment search folders are tied to a specific file.

Tie in with more useful archiving – which is not “delete” or “move” all messages over a certain age. Rather it should be more sophisticated and perhaps based on the folder where a message resides (mapping it to a related folder in an archive for example).

I’m sure I’ll think of many more… but these would/could be an amazing start…


Shannon Clark 2/1/05; 7:58:58 PM


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